Snacking is wrecking your progress

Are you a habitual snacker? Do you spend more time justifying your indulgences than considering how to better manage your treats? Well we’ve been talking about this over in my Facebook group, Uncommon Sense Physique. Here’s what I had to say on the topic.

When you pop that snack in your mouth, in almost all such situations, there is one simple reality.

That the individual–in this case my beautiful wife–wants/seeks the joy of eating the [insert favorite snack food] more than they want [insert desired outcome here].

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Lessons learned from a year of bulking

In 46 weeks, I managed to add 39 lbs of body weight, with over 21 lbs of that coming as muscle. And topping the scale at 209 lbs was a huge achievement for me. But what did I learn from almost a year of bulking?

First, a little context.

There’s nothing exceptional about my genetics. I’m an average 5’9” and my natural set-point is a soft welterweight. I’ve played sports casually over the years and spent my entire working-life sitting behind a desk. But I’m certainly no bodybuilding noob, and I definitely know my way around the gym with many years of training under my belt. I’m also in pretty good shape considering my forty-six years. In the realm of physique transformation, I’ve been as low as 148 lbs and single digit body fat, and previously topped the scale at 187 lbs.

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I want a six pack

I was chatting to colleague recently, who declared that I’d given a friend who wanted six-pack abs “bad advice” with regard to his diet and exercise. I was taken aback, and pushed to understand why they felt my advice was bad. Reason? Dogma.

I want a six-pack. Isn’t that always how it starts?

The holy grail of physique transformation where abdominal muscles stand proud, and ripple and glisten in response to your every movement. It matters not that this is invariably happening beneath your shirt, that few may ever know of your condition.

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Why your goals are making you unhappy and how to change your approach

Setting goals is an important part of the planning process. However, I’ve learned that goals can be somewhat like a poisoned chalice; helpful and valuable at first, but also a source of angst and unhappiness.

Throughout my life, I’ve been an incredibly goal-oriented person and especially so in the gym. And without doubt, setting physique goals has been instrumental in my progress, dragging me forward when motivation inevitably wanes.

Over time, I’ve also learned to how to refine my goals by making them increasingly specific and aligning them to my core values.

Read more Why your goals are making you unhappy and how to change your approach

So you want to get lean — Part 2

You’ve established your energy needs, adjusted for exercise, and calculated your macros. Time to get in the gym and hit the weights! But where do you start?

In part one of this topic, we covered the importance of energy balance, how to establish an energy deficit and calculate our macros to help guide our nutritional choices.

In this post, we’ll cover some of the exercise protocols you can use to increase fat loss, and walk through a sample program that draws on many of these techniques.

Read more So you want to get lean — Part 2

So you want to get lean — Part 1

You’ve taken a long hard look in the mirror and decided enough is enough. You want the body of your dreams and it’s time to get lean. But where do you start?

If you’ve been following my recent posts, you’ll know that there are two fundamentals to getting lean.

  1. Establishing a negative energy balance
  2. Following a program of resistance training

First, without a negative energy balance, your body will not have to use stored energy to meet its daily energy demands. That’s why it’s critical that you understand your maintenance calories and establish an appropriate deficit.

Second, we’re not here to simply lose weight. If losing weight were the goal, we could sit in a room with minimal food and just wait it out. Trouble is, that approach would burn as much muscle as fat leaving you looking like a chewed-over bone. Our goal is stripping fat and preserving lean mass. Hence, we need a carefully crafted program of resistance training.

Read more So you want to get lean — Part 1

Workout mistakes: Part 3 – You’re not eating to support your goals

In part 2 of this series, I covered the fundamentals of training and physique transformation to help get you focused on the things that matter most. In this post, we explore nutrition and eating to support your training goals.

Eating is an emotive subject, much abused in the industry with terms like “clean eating” and “eating healthily”. They make sense as abstract statements, but they do little to help you translate that into practical advice.

How has something so simple as eating to meet your needs become a veritable minefield and major cause of confusion for so many people?

Bombarded with vague, misleading and sometimes purposefully incorrect information, more and more people are struggling with diet and nutrition.

There always seems to be some new diet or eating protocol to follow, and even the common sense approaches have now been sufficiently debased so as to leave the most pragmatic among us confused.

Well I’m here to help, and with this post I plan to cover:

  • Energy balance
  • Understanding your maintenance calories
  • Food quality
  • The importance of consistency

Read more Workout mistakes: Part 3 – You’re not eating to support your goals

Restructure your thinking for success

Many aspects of our physique journey are hard. Long periods of hunger. Fluctuating scale weight. Clothes that no longer fit. Aches and pains. Let me show you how to think differently about these events and see progress and opportunity in everything.

But first, let’s clear something up. When you eat that cookie or skip that workout, you are making a conscious choice. Like it or not, in that moment, you value the gratification more than you value progress.

It doesn’t matter what it is. An evening with friends. That second glass of wine. For whatever reason you made a choice and your workout or diet didn’t win.

Yes, you can say it’s just one cookie or just one workout. But often, it’s not. One cookie often becomes two, or ten. One skipped workout creates a mental model that says it’s ok if you miss a session.

Now I’m not a food nazi, nor so boring or disciplined that I haven’t missed a workout or three. But when I am zoned-in on a goal, pretty much nothing derails me.

I’ve practiced fasting and yet gone to lunch with the lads and watched them eat fried chicken and ice-cream (not together) while I sipped water or coffee. I’ve turned down cake at parties and taken my food to friends to make sure I hit my macros.

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Workout mistakes: Part 2 – You’re focused on the wrong things

In the first of this three part series, we talked in depth about the value of planning your workouts. In this post, I want to cover the fundamentals of training and physique transformation and help get you focused on the things that matter most.

For years I trained hard in the gym. Really hard. But the results just weren’t what I’d hoped for, especially considering the effort going in.

Over time, I came to realize that much of my time training was actually focused on the wrong things. Focusing on the minutiae and details, but not paying enough attention to the things that matter most.

Chances are, you are making many of the same mistakes. I see it all the time in the gyms I train in and in my conversations with people.

Read more Workout mistakes: Part 2 – You’re focused on the wrong things

Visualization: Unlock the power of your mind

Have you ever felt you were just going through the motions? Struggling to feel engaged with seemingly mundane aspects of your physique journey? Let me show you the purpose in what we do.

There’s a short story that goes around the corporate innovation and motivational circuits that I find truly inspiring. And told by the right person in the right setting, this story can transform your thinking, elevating your perspective from mundane to momentous.

Moreover, as a bodybuilder, I have found this tale to have deeper meaning in our efforts to transform our physique.

Let’s start with that story.

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Workout mistakes: Part 1 – You don’t have a plan

You’ve resolved to make a positive change in your life, hit the gym and transform your physique. Just don’t make one of these three big mistakes. Otherwise, your progress will likely be very short lived.

I’ve been going to the same gym now for about four years. One of the things that disappoints me the most is seeing the same people coming through the gym, year after year, and not making progress.

More worryingly, when I watch and talk to these people, they are all making one or more of the following three mistakes.

Read more Workout mistakes: Part 1 – You don’t have a plan